Monthly Archives: May 2012

Dragonflies and crocodiles



We have just got back from some
Quality time away. The town of Dragonflies and crocodiles . Sunsets and Barramundi .

We were hanging out in Darwin with Harry’s new cousin Pearl who was born 8 weeks ago. It was just Harry and I on vacation and I couldn’t have a better traveling companion.
Following in the footsteps of eldest sister Tess Harry fell asleep on the plane just before take off. For 2 hours he slept and then spent the remainder of the flight playing open the window shutter , close the window shutter. A tad boring for me and my arm, but it passed the time adequately .

A change of temperature from chilly Melbourne 10 degrees to a gorgeous 29 degrees , has meant I have had to disband the bonnets and rely on tape to keep the magnets on. It seems he is more tolerant with age although I cringe everytime I have to pull off the tape as I feel his pain when the hairs are ripped from his head with the tape before each sleep.

With time to focus on just Harry he seems to have made a mountain of progress on this trip.

Small things like a new floor surface to crawl on that is less slippery, a great dog to chase around the room and a retro 60’s sofa with cushions in a perfect wedge for climbing have brought Harry’s physical development on leaps and bounds.

We also had time to listen to new environmental sounds . Listen to the chorus of birds in the morning . Listen to the rumble of a real 4WD. Listen to a didgeridoo at the local markets. Listen to the sound of an ice cold beer being gulped down by mum whilst he eat dinner.

It was a fab trip and a joy to slow down our hectic pace of a family of 5 to just focus on Harry at his pace.


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Teaching Harry how to listen

We are concentrating our focus on teaching Harry how to listen so he can then learn to speak.

This is an adaptation of another mother’s list of best practice in developing listening skills leading to speech

Use a moderate, clear voice.

Use full sentences and model language correctly.

Talk, talk, talk – about every activity you do with him. Don’t miss a chance to have a conversation whenever you can, and be close by and at his eye and ear level. However don’t talk about abstract things- talk about what Harry is interested in

Give Harry a chance to talk back. Ask him a question and wait, wait, wait. Count slowly to five. Only then provide the answer if he has not yet responded.

Reward approximations. If you say ‘cup’ and he says ‘oo’, don’t correct him, just say, ‘that’s right, it’s a cup, good talking Harry, you said cup’.

Sing songs that are fun and include actions.

‘Communicate’ – When Harry makes sounds, copy and make them back, and then vary it and start a new sound and see if Harry will copy it back.

Minimise background noise – turn off the tv, washing machine, etc. It makes it very hard for Harry to hear properly.

Say it before he sees it eg. ‘Do you want a drink Harry.” Give him a chance to think about what you are asking, then show him the drink. Do you want to read a book Harry.” Wait, then show him the book.

– To teach him that words mean something.
– To teach him how to listen- how to distinguish between different sounds (much harder for him than a hearing baby).

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Baa baa black sheep


The last two weeks I have managed to successfully concentrate on Harry’s development both physical and speech.

It has been such a pleasure not to spend my day obsessing about magnets . They do still get knocked off in the pram and he doesn’t wear them in the car unless he has one of the girls sitting with him, but overall we have overcome enough of the headgear hurdles to enjoy everyday life with Harry as a normal 11 mnth old baby.

There is a quiet time in our day when the girls are at school and he has woken from his morning sleep. He sits patiently in his high chair waiting for a
lunch fitting of a Feller – ratatouille and pasta or sautéed spinach, mushroom and leek with pasta.

He has a wooden puzzle with 6 assorted animals on it and we sit together going through the sounds each animal makes. I have been told to concentrate on 2 animals at a time with different sounds. For example Baaa – a long sound with arrr and woof woof – a short repeated sound.
I discovered if I place my face very close to his and over exaggerate my mouth movements he stops what he is doing and follows my mouth movements with amazing concentration. Next he attempts to copy my sound. Considering he is only 8 weeks into hearing I am blown away by this progress and according to the Speechies if he makes the sound more than once in context we can record it as his first “words”….

So what might these be I hear you ask? My money is on Baa for sheep and Brmm Brmm for his car toy steering wheel. It is now completely obvious to me that boys are genetically wired to be obsessed with cars and trucks. As for the sheep , there are no New Zealand genes in our family so it will remain unexplained.

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